FIVE former Road Development Agency (RDA) directors have sued the agency, seeking a declaration that the decision to remove them from the payroll without paying them their terminal benefits was unconstitutional.
Last year, RDA terminated the contracts of eight directors namely; Director Legal Services Mukupa Musonda, Director Finance Kapembwa Mulenga, Director Human Capital and Administration Elias Mwila, Director Procurement Titus Chansa, Director Commercial and Technical Services Wesley Kaluba, Director Road Maintenance Dickson Ndhlovu, Director Construction and Rehabilitation William Mulusa and Director Communications and Corporate Affairs Mazuzyo Ndhlovu.
However, five of those former directors who include; Dickson Ndhlovu, Kapembwa Mulenga, Elias Mwila, Titus Chansa and Masuzyo Ndhlovu are now seeking an order directing RDA to retain them on the Agency payroll, until their pension benefits were paid in full.
Masuzyo and four others are also seeking an order directing RDA to pay them all the withheld salaries from January 2022 until payment of their pension benefits and or gratuity in full.
The petitioners also want interest, costs and any other order the court shall deem just.
According to a statement of claim filed in the Constitutional Court, the five stated that it was a condition of their contracts of employment that at the end of their respective contracts of employment, they would each be paid gratuity calculated at 36 percent of their last terminal salary.
They stated that in November 2021, RDA terminated their contracts of employment on various dates and availed them with copies of the separation clearance form to facilitate the computation of their terminal benefits.
The five stated that the termination was done without affording them a reason or indeed giving them three months’ notice or a payment in lieu, thereof contrary to the wording of clause 19.1.1 embedded in the contracts of employment which is to the effect that the respondent would only terminate the said contracts on grounds relating to conduct or performance.
They stated that the terminations were sudden and unexpected given their exemplary records in their respective fields and appraisals conducted by RDA.
“Subsequent to the termination of the petitioners’ contracts of employment, RDA failed to pay the terminal benefits and/or contracts of employment and failed to pay the terminal benefits and or contractual gratuity provided for in their respective contracts of employment. The petitioners shall aver that the respondent only kept them on the payroll for November 2021 and December 2021 but proceeded to remove the petitioners from the payroll effective January 2022 without paying the petitioners their terminal benefits,” they stated.
The five stated that according to the Constitution and given that their contracts of employment were supported by two pieces of legislation namely the Public Roads Act no.12 of 2002 and the Public service pensions Act no. 35 of 1996, they were entitled to be paid their contractual gratuity and terminal benefits in full on their last working day.
They stated that they have not been paid their terminal benefits and as such, they were entitled by law to remain on the RDA payroll until full payment of their terminal benefits.